Thursday 3 May 2018, 13.45 - 14.45

In recent years, movements have emerged which have begun to challenge the long-dominant narrative that 'global is good', and this has been matched by a growth in nationalist sentiment that demands local and national interests take precedent over other concerns. Universities lie at the very heart of these debates.

Given this tension in political and social discourse, some argue that it has never been more important to demonstrate that universities' international links benefit wider national society.

Key questions:

  • Does the higher education community currently operate in a bubble? If so, how can institutions reach a wider audience and engage disenfranchised groups?
  • As well as generating new knowledge, is it the role of the university to communicate the benefits of this knowledge to local communities?
  • Does wider society care for the truth anymore? If not, what can we do to address this?
  • Do universities need to focus more on local concerns rather than international engagement?
  • What do institutions and the higher education community need to do to better connect and engage with their local context?


  • Vivienne Stern, Director, Universities UK International, UK (Chair)
  • Professor Pamela Dube, Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Student Development and Support, The University of the Western Cape, South Africa
  • Professor Tim Jones, Provost and Vice-Principal, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Professor Siow Heng Ong, Dean of International Affairs, Singapore Management University (SMU), Singapore
  •  Dr Vanita Shastri, Dean of Global Education and Strategic Programs, Ashoka University, India

See also